UK/Euro Sales Enquiries 07802437827, +44-780-2437827, USA and Other Sales +64-9-358-5835

The Angel Is In The Detail

Running a successful photo business is seen to be mostly about getting the right photographers, and good marketing. To make the most of those it's important to get all the little things right.  The angel (or...
More info

Putting The Customer First

Getting a reputation for customer service is a great way to keep and build business.  It sounds like an easy thing to do, but in the rush to automation and making sales online, it is easy to forget about the...
More info

Re-assess Staffing Every Season to Stay On Top

With the change of season just around the corner, it's a good time to do a thorough assessment of your staff, and staffing generally. Looking at employee performance at the beginning of each new season is a...
More info

Outsource or Inhouse – What’s Best for Brands?

To identify brand items in celebrity images, it is tempting to make it an extra task that can be added to the duties of existing staff. In practice this almost never works - but outsourcing can solve the...
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Reclaim The Night (Sales)

The best time for promoting imagery, is all the time. So if you're not doing it yet, get ready to go 24/7. It is a rare thing for a photo agency to work around the clock, except for the largest players in the...
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Does Your Brand Yield Measure Up?

If asked how many brands could be identified in their images, it is doubtful many photo/news agency managers would be able to give anything like an accurate answer. Such a total is based on two important...
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Old School Techniques for New Sales

When the CD came along, the vinyl LP was considered as relevant as the wax cylinder of Edison’s day. Yet in the year 2017, CDs are on their way out, and vinyl is having a resurgence. Could it be that photo...
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Brand Meets Bib

Sports bib keywording - identifying participants in marathons etc - provides new opportunities for monetising images by recording the brands appearing in them. Here are a few ways such information can be...
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Get Your Pictures Out Of Hiding

Although no one intends to hide images from their customers, it's amazing what lengths people inadvertently go to achieving that outcome by mistake.  Here are some classic errors, and how to avoid them.  Hide...
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Just Add Staff and Avoid The Risks Of Hiring

Adding staff to the payroll can be a harrowing and costly experience, whether looking to fill a temporary position, getting work done overnight or adding permanent staff.  Now Picsell Media can take away the...
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Losing Focus With Your Image Feeds?

Sending too many images to prospective buyers is a cardinal sin, but often one that is committed due to lack of staff and time.  How do we know a Focused Feed of images - edited down to meet the target...
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Brand Info – Find It to Protect It

Huge numbers of celebrity images contain brand information, even if the photographer and their agents don't realise.  The question isn't so much if it can be found (it can) but who will benefit from those...
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New Year, New Ideas

As image and news agencies get to grips with the challenges of 2017, here are a few ideas about things you could change to make life easier, and improve sales: Curate to improve performance - Spewing unedited...
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You Choose – the Hard Way, or the Easy Way

It's one of the oldest lines in the book: "we can do this the hard way, or the easy way - your choice".  The astonishing thing is how often people opt for the hard way and suffer the consequences.   But...
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Consider These Image Library Software Partners

Picsell Media uses software from some of the biggest and best providers, working in and on their systems to deliver efficient results when entering metadata and managing image flow.  Here are three providers...
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Getting Started With Outsourcing

Whilst many image agencies see the benefits of outsourcing photo desk work in terms of improved performance, cost control and allowing better focus on core business, it is another matter to get started on...
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Helping Image Libraries Increase Social Media Use

We recently updated our customer relations management system (CRM) and found some interesting trends in use of social media by photo agencies since our last big roundup six months ago.  More agencies are...
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Take The 1,000 Image Challenge

Prospective clients often wonder if they really have the sort of images that contain many saleable brands in them.  Our 1,000 Image Challenge will answer the question, for free. All you have to do is contact...
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Now Get Services By The Hour

With shrinking numbers of photo agency staff, it is often a problem to cover duties which need to be done intermittently, or for just a few times each day.  That problem becomes even bigger if you're covering...
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Image Galleries Sales Opportunity

The duplication of effort involved in preparing galleries of celebrity and news images for blogs and web sites presents a sales opportunity for switched on photo agencies. The size of that opportunity was...
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Brandlink Launches To Help PRs Find Stars And Brands

Represent a brand or in charge of its publicity, but struggling to know when celebrities are wearing or using that brand?  A new innovation from Brandkeywording.com can keep your finger on the pulse.  ...
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Mixing Your Deadlines To Maximise Cash

Being first with the news isn't always best, as deadlines become more and more complex amongst the many forms of publications, both physical and electronic.  Working out the right mix of delivery deadlines...
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Targeting Image Feeds For Sub Agents and Resellers

Poor targeting of image feeds sent to sub-agents and resellers can be costly, but there are ways of avoiding that mistake. With photo and news agencies having complex webs of sellers throughout the world, it...
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Innovative Solutions For The 21st Century

Picsell Media has a single-minded goal – to help image companies, and those who use images, to make the most of the world of digital imagery by standing out from the crowd in terms of performance and meeting customer needs.

Often that involves improving quality and efficiency with our outsourced metadata and workflow solutions. We also help our clients develop new revenue streams, and ways to beat the competition in a crowded marketplace through more focused marketing and accurate research.  Whether it’s because your company no longer has the staff, you can’t cover the 24/7 sales day, or you need new ways of making money – we can help.

With offices in Auckland and London, we span the time zones.  With a background in image syndication and journalism, we have a unique insight into the problems faced by all concerned.  And with a reputation for innovation, quality and integrity, it’s no accident that we work for some of the biggest names in the business.

Read below to find out more about what we have to offer.

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Image Desk Streamlines Workflow 24/7

Running a photo desk every hour of the day and night is a time-consuming and costly business.  As image agencies increasingly concentrate on the need to make sales and generate revenue, the crucial tasks of getting images to market can seem like a heavy burden. But if that work isn’t done well, sales and profitability suffer.  So what’s the solution?

By outsourcing the basic image desk and workflow tasks to Picsell Media, you can remove the headache, while improving the quality of work.  Not to mention that if you are only working within business hours at present, we can insure your production gets where it needs to around the clock from our offices in London and Auckland.

With years of experience working for the biggest names in the business, our staff know how to get images and videos to market on time, looking good, with concise and literate captions, and accurate keywords and metadata.  They can help you avoid embarrassing factual errors and the potential for legal problems from defamation, privacy laws or court orders.  They can also deal with the complexities of exclusive image sets and on-hold procedures, working via web sites, or by using image flows.

If there’s little or no work to be done, you don’t have to pay for staff to be twiddling their thumbs or doing other make-work tasks badly.  There are no more problems with recruitment, training, rosters, office space and administration costs – just a regular bill based on the work actually done.

Your procedures will be documented to ensure consistency, with our Client Database detailing the various procedures for a myriad of contributors and their particular ways they need rights, editing and captions handled.  We can even find ways to streamline your procedures to get work done faster and better.

For a free initial consultation, just get in touch by clicking here.

Keywording, Metadata For Editorial & Stock

Relevant and accurate keywording for editorial and stock images and videos is the primary tool for getting them found and sold.  Not to mention identifying the correct photographer, the rights, locations and more.  It is no accident that the most successful image libraries in the world invest heavily in keywording and metadata.  As archives continue grow, it is the secret sauce that feeds sales.

But perhaps not so secret, as Picsell Media staff are experienced in delivering a range of keywording standards, from Getty and Alamy through to bespoke standards for celebrity photo agencies and archives.

Those who have good keywording can atest to the advantage that gives their images against their contributors in large aggregator image sites and the market generally.  They know that customers keep coming back because they can find what they want, while others make a token effort with AI or crowd-sourced keywords, or none at all.

The cornerstones of the keywording effort are vocabularies, templates and keywording rules – all documented for each client and their specific needs.  Picsell Media staff – almost all university graduates with degrees in Communications, Art History or English – work from offices in London and Auckland.  No outworkers, no outsourcing to Third World countries.

Whether you are using a controlled vocabulary with a detailed taxonomy, or need keywords added on the fly, our team is up to the task.

As well as standard editorial and stock keywording, we offer specialised services such as keyword fix-up, fashion and beauty, brand keywording, street style, and even keywording of bib numbers in images from fun runs, marathons, triathlons and other competitions.

To find out more about what we have to offer, click here to make an enquiry.

New Revenue From Celebrity Brand Images

Brand for signatureMany celebrity, news and sports photo agencies have a wealth of images which contain brand associations.  In most cases, those associations go unnoticed and unsold.  We can change all that for image libraries, brand publicisers and retailers – unlocking new ways of making money through native advertising, PR use and “get the look” advertorial features.  Not just with fashion items, but by taking advantage of the many possibilities presented by other types of products – from baby bottles to sports cars.

Being able to identify brands within celebrity, news and sports images can create revenue in a number of ways.  The traditional avenue has been to assist fashion editors and bloggers needing to find and license images to illustrate fashion trends and the work of particular designers.  But increasingly the trend is to license images to public relations firms, brand managers or advertising agencies.  In turn, these companies make their money by launching social media campaigns and supporting native advertising with authentic images of real celebrity news.  Native advertising, supported by such “real” images, is beginning to take over from the far more expensive and difficult-to-organise product placement services.  This is even more so due to the growth of adblocking software and the scandal of click-through fraud. Via our Brandkeywording.com brand, we offer the following services:

  • Identifying and keywording brands within images to enable existing sales teams to increase their success
  • Supporting sales with Front Line Image Alerts sent to your sales people and/or potential buyers immediately the brand images are identified from new production
  • Making sales on a commission basis on behalf of the image agency
  • Providing URL links to brands in celebrity images for “get the look” and similar features
  • Working with retailers to utilise celebrity brand images to boost online sales

Getting Images To The Front Of The Queue

Core for signature

Via our Core Celeb brand, we have affordable solutions to get celebrity and news images preferential treatment in key international markets.  We create carefully-edited, well-labelled and targeted feeds of the latest shots, which photo buyers need just a few minutes to look through.  To support that work, we find the best images as they arrive at our clients’ servers, and send email alerts to assist salespeople and photo editors alike.  We can also assist with rating images on your web site or provide image research services for your customers, charged on an hour basis.

Photo editors are increasingly burdened by a deluge of images as sellers try to get their latest pictures in front of purchasers.  It’s an understandable, but increasingly unsuccessful sales strategy, as customers tire of looking through irrelevant, poorly-labelled image sets.  Web sites take even longer to wade through. In some cases, companies with the most to offer are being ignored in favour of those with smaller feeds which are easier to look through.

A Core Celeb feed can re-focus, or be added to existing image distribution systems.  Editing feeds to deliver what is relevant helps earn extra one-off sales, and supports the usability and worth of subscription deals.  All for a few cents per image set.  Core Celeb image editors can create and deliver feeds and image alerts throughout the news day, in a variety of time zones.  Addressing the demands of the key markets is a major focus.  What is of interest in Britain may not be in America, Germany or Australia.

Overall, by making it easier to find the best images, we keep our clients at the forefront of suppliers, allowing them to maximise sales, and keep image buyers valuing their subscription services.

News, Views And Information

The Picsell Media blog contains news and insights relating to image metadata, editing, workflow, keywording, distribution, focused feeds, research, and brands found in images of celebrities.  Click on the post below to be taken to our blog to read the full story.  You can click here to go straight to the blog.

Candid or Event – Which is Better for Brands?

When looking for brands in celebrity images and videos, which are most likely to make money – Candid or Event?  Here are the pros and cons, and a conclusion:

Event Images/Videos

Available targets? – Given that a red carpet event in particular is like shooting fish in a barrel, it is possible to get dozens of celebrities wearing various brands, all in an hour or two.  This makes covering events very efficient.
Competition? – Unfortunately, the flip side to having many targets is that there is a lot of competition from other photographers and their agencies.
Range of brands? – Given the nature of most events. the brands tend to focus on fashion and accessories.  They are hugely important though.
Saleability of brands? – Fashion is hugely important, but the clothing worn by female celebrities is often evening wear, and often not available in stores.  This limits the saleability of brand items to the general public.
Potential for enhancement? – Getting shots which better show off brand items is certainly possible – close-ups of watches, jewellery and handbags for instance – but you have to be quick.

Candid Images/Videos

Available targets? – There are definite limits when taking street shots of a particular celebrity, couple or group.  The most celebrities you can take a picture of is likely to be no more than a handful, and even that is relatively rare.  And you may have to spend several hours to get the right shots.
Competition? – The flip side is that you are far less likely to have a lot of other photographers getting the same shots.  Indeed, there is a possibility of getting an exclusive.
Range of brands? – As well as fashion, you can expect sports gear, baby buggies, drink bottles, cars, mobile phones, gymnasiums and much more.
Saleability of brands? – Because the items are being used in “real life” consumers are more able to relate to them, and most importantly, buy them.  This makes brands in candid images perfect for retailers.
Potential for enhancement? – Because there are opportunities for different angles, and time to go back to the scene later, it is possible to get great GVs, shots of signs, logos and much more.

Although not a runaway winner, candid images and video provide more sales opportunites, which is the most important factor.  Although it isn’t possible to get shots of as many celebrities, the range of brands and the relevance to the public outweigh the efficiency of working events.  Less competition between photographers/videographers is an added advantage for candid shots.

To find out more about making money from brands in celebrity images, click here.

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The Angel Is In The Detail

Running a successful photo business is seen to be mostly about getting the right photographers, and good marketing. To make the most of those it’s important to get all the little things right.  The angel (or the devil) is in the detail.

Many a business has failed, or been less successful than it could be, because grand visions weren’t backed up by getting the little things right, often around the user experience or how difficult it was for staff to do their jobs.

If finding an image is a little slow due to a minor glitch in the system, customers will vote with their mouse and go elsewhere.  If staff are continually having to use dropdown menus for keywording, they will be slower, pushing the cost up.

Here are some of the details that should be optimised:

  • Minimise clicks wherever they occur, so that customers and staff can do what they need to do faster.
  • Make text easy to read – Preferably with a decent font and size, and black on white, not white on black.
  • Minimise scrolling – The act of going up and down a page is time-consuming, so try to keep the “action zone” viewable on a single screen.
  • Avoid long dropdown lists, or dropdowns generally – It is annoying and time consuming to scroll through lists of the world’s countries when making internet purchases.  The same rule applies when selecting territorial rights or doing complicated tasks such as keywording.
  • Automate “choice” – Where tasks require decisions, it makes sense to minimise how many decisions need to be made. So if things such as whether a set is exclusive, its rights and other metadata can be added automatically, it will save a lot of time and money.  Not just in the time taken to do the task, but also from avoiding the fallout caused by mistakes from human error.
  • Speed redraw – The faster web pages display, the better the experience for customers and staff.

Most importantly, listen to customers and people doing the work, about how irksome or time-consuming a part of your system is – indeed, invite their comments. If it’s enough to comment on, it is a serious problem, even if it’s only a detail.

To find out how outsourcing can improve your efficiency, click here.

 

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Putting The Customer First

Getting a reputation for customer service is a great way to keep and build business.  It sounds like an easy thing to do, but in the rush to automation and making sales online, it is easy to forget about the basics.

Here are some ways you can increase customer focus:

  1. Go old school for customer relations – That means ringing customers and meeting the most important ones.  In a contest against many similar image sellers, customers will often give preference to people they like and know.
  2. Keep the client aware of the latest and best at every turn – Whether that’s by a phone call, an email, website banner, social media or other means, remove the pressure of customers having to find the good stuff – make it easy and reduce their stress levels.  They’ll thank you for it.
  3. In direct feeds, reduce the amount customers have to wade through – Edit the feeds sent in via FTP or other means.  Make them concise and relevant, so it is a pleasure for customers to look at what you’ve sent, rather than wading through a lot of irrelevant images sent by competitors.
  4. Do the research for your customers – With so many subscription deals and other automated systems, often the biggest cost faced by customers is the time spent finding what they need.  Take that cost away by doing the research for them.  You can also do presearch – finding images to match the news ahead of time.
  5. Go 24/7 – The more convenient your service is to access, the better.

To find out about the services we can offer to improve you customer service, click here.

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Re-assess Staffing Every Season to Stay On Top

With the change of season just around the corner, it’s a good time to do a thorough assessment of your staff, and staffing generally. Looking at employee performance at the beginning of each new season is a great discipline that stops managers from becoming complacent or forgetting about the big picture.

Carrying staff who are underperforming, or underworked, is a huge drain on profitability, and not just because hours are being paid for that shouldn’t be needed. Underperforming or bored workers are likely to make mistakes and/or fail to push sales.

It is also important to look beyond the individuals and assess whether team members are working the right hours, being given the right tasks or costing too much overall.

The following tips will help in carrying out the process:

  • Develop real, measurable performance indicators to work out how staff are going. – Fireside chats without any performance measures feel like they are good for morale, but staff generally want to know where they stand.  If they’re underperforming they’ll know it and won’t respect managers who miss such facts. Measurement is also crucial for working out if the company is overstaffed.
  • Are some employees being kept around because they are liked, or the tough decision to let them go isn’t being made? – That’s fine if you can afford it, but be honest with yourself that this is the reason for such a luxury.
  • Be wary of staff looking busy, when they really aren’t. – Work generally expands to fill the time available, with staff pacing themselves.  The hard questions have to be asked about whether this is happening.
  • In assessing staff costs, don’t just stop at pay. – Salaries and wages are only part of the story. IT, rent, training, sick days, holidays, hiring and management costs also need to be included. It is easy to convince yourself that staff are much cheaper than they really are.
  • Do more hours need to be covered? – Staff often don’t want to work unsociable hours such as weekends and nights. Don’t let that be a limit on operational hours – that’s the tail wagging the dog.
  • What are the customers saying? – Don’t be afraid to get feedback from trusted clients. – How staff perform for them may be quite different to the way they present themselves to you.  And customers might also be wanting services or hours the current team isn’t delivering.
  • Compare current staffing with an outsourced solution. – It’s easy to think that outsourcing will cost too much, or be too inflexible to work for you. Find out by talking to an outsourcer or two and find out. You might be in for a pleasant surprise.

To get a quote for outsourcing from Picsell Media, click here.

 

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Outsource or Inhouse – What’s Best for Brands?

To identify brand items in celebrity images, it is tempting to make it an extra task that can be added to the duties of existing staff. In practice this almost never works – but outsourcing can solve the problem in a cost effective way.

There are multiple reasons why brand keywording doesn’t tend to be a good add-on for existing staff:

  • No keyworders – Increasingly, celebrity photo agencies have no staff doing keywording. So to have brands identified means setting up systems and reassigning people from other duties.
  • Lack of time – Already-overworked keywording staff simply don’t have the hours to be researching and finding brand items, and may not even have time to even add the obvious brands with trademarks in full view.
  • Lack of systems – Identifying brands is not a straightforward procedure.  It needs inherent knowledge, research sources, and links with organisations and people who will feed information. That system takes time and money to set up – something that is almost certainly not economic for each photo agency to do individually.
  • Lack of immersion – If brand identification isn’t their main job, staff simply won’t build up the knowledge and speed to find and enter the data efficiently, compared to people who do the job day in and day out.

In these circumstances, it makes much more sense to outsource brand id keywording. Outsourcing companies such as Brand Keywording, have experienced staff with existing optimised systems, and can find brands efficiently.

Even more importantly, the amount paid for finding brands can scale up and down according to the number of images, putting brand identification within the reach of even small celebrity agencies.

To find out more about how outsourcing brand keywording can work for you, click here.

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Stop Wasting Time With Email

Streams of emails between photo desks, photographers and editors can kill efficiency.  Here are some tips to stop burning through the time and money with unnecessary hours spent generating, sending, receiving and responding to email.

Engineer email out of your communication channels – Try to include the relevant information in image metadata, rather than following each set of images with an email which also requires a response. This also avoids crucial information getting lost because it’s not directly attached to the work being carried out.

Use chat where possible – but be careful – For many small communications, chat is more efficient than email, especially when an immediate response is needed. That said, it is important that it doesn’t unravel into social media-style conversations about everything but work.

Cut the unnecessary pleasantries – There’s no need to spend time sending a thank you email or other pleasantries for routine tasks. Such emails waste the time of the writer and the reader.

Cut down mailing lists – These can grow like topsy, inundating people with emails that aren’t relevant. Go through your email lists to make sure everyone on them really needs to know.

To find out more about how Picsell Media delivers efficient image workflow services, contact us by clicking here.

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Take Your Trends In New Directions

Celebrity brand images are the perfect ammunition for fashion editors and others to show what styles are in this season, which fashion-conscious celebs are leading the latest trends and what are the most popular fashion items – but why stop there?

Just as there are trends in clothing, handbags and shoes, there are trends in other consumer items big and small – everything from mobile phones and skateboards to bicycles and SUVs, even planes and boats.  Not to mention the trendiest places to go, such as restaurants, gyms and hair salons.

So when preparing galleries of images to license, or suggesting a theme search to an image buyer, don’t let your thoughts end at the fashion editor’s desktop – think about motoring, fitness, lifestyle and other sections of publications and blogs.  Seek out specialist blogs to make suggestions about what the coolest celebrities are riding when they go mountain biking, or what headphone brands they prefer.  The options are almost endless.

What’s more, it is possible to turn those galleries into advertising features, or sell advertising around them.  All you have to work out is which celebrities are using which brands.  To find out how we can help you with celebrity brand identification and keywording, click here.

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Reclaim The Night (Sales)

The best time for promoting imagery, is all the time. So if you’re not doing it yet, get ready to go 24/7.

It is a rare thing for a photo agency to work around the clock, except for the largest players in the industry.  That means those large companies not only have money on their side, but time too.

International territories are being reached at appropriate intervals, while smaller rivals are missing out on promotion and sales.

However, the problem of a lack of marketing presence can be solved, with outsourced promotions – everything from focused feeds, web site updates and sales alerts to research services.

With offices in London and Auckland, Core Celeb is able to provide a few hours of expert staffing to do the marketing and promo tasks that would be too expensive if carried out by directly-employed night staff.

As such work is more about timing, rather than being time-consuming, you are likely to be surprised by how inexpensive it is to keep up with the market leaders.  To find out how Core Celeb can help, click here.

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Does Your Brand Yield Measure Up?

If asked how many brands could be identified in their images, it is doubtful many photo/news agency managers would be able to give anything like an accurate answer.

Such a total is based on two important figures – how many images contain any identifiable brands, and within that number how many brands can be identified per image.  Within that, there are two other important statistics – the number of saleable brands identified, and the number of trend-setting celebrities wearing and/or using those brands.

To maximise the brand yield, it is not just a matter of adding keywords whenever a pair of easily-identified Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses appear, on any C-list celebrity.  It requires taking the job seriously, using dedicated staff to match information, and knowledge from experience to find all that can be reasonably found that is worth finding.

If brand identification is just an incidental add-on, it is unlikely much use is being made of the information anyway – so yields are almost certainly low.

When doing intense brand identification, it is common to find half a dozen brands per image, although the proportion of images worth keywording is very much dictated by the celebrities and the occasion.  The long and short of it is that a team of focused specialists is needed to maximise brand yield in an image library.

To find out how Brandkeywroding.com can improve your brand yield and revenue, try our 1,000 Image Challenge.

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